Earlier this month, Melissa DeRosa, Cuomo’s secretary, unleashed a political firestorm when she admitted to state Democrats that the administration had deliberately hid data on the number of COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes.
Days after that revelation, Assemblyman Ron Kim claimed that the governor made threats as part of an effort to get him to ‘cover up’ for DeRosa’s admission.
Now, Kim is standing up to the governor and even wrote an op-ed for Newsweek calling for his impeachment.
‘We cannot be numb to the fact that 15,000 people died in nursing homes under Governor Cuomo’s watch,’ Kim wrote.
New York Assemblyman Ron Kim (right) who accused Andrew Cuomo (left) of berating him during a phone call, has penned an op-ed calling for the governor to be impeached over the COVID-19 nursing home scandal
Earlier this month, Melissa DeRosa (left), Cuomo’s secretary, unleashed a political firestorm when she admitted to state Democrats that the administration had deliberately hid data on the number of COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes
Kim wrote that Cuomo ‘snuck a toxic corporate immunity clause in the 2020 budget on behalf of his top campaign donor, the Greater New York Hospital Association’.
‘You don’t need a PhD to understand that handing out get-out-of-jail-free cards to for-profit nursing homes in the middle of a pandemic will lead to more deaths,’ Kim said.
He then questioned: ‘If the corporate immunity was omitted from the budget, how many lives would have been saved? Ten percent? Twenty percent? That is 1,500 to 3,000 families who could be sitting across from a loved one at dinner tonight. That’s an entire 9/11 tragedy that we could have prevented.’
Kim wrote: ‘We must hold the governor accountable and restore the integrity of the Senate and Assembly as co-equal branches of government. We must put all options on the table, in order to get to the truth.
‘It is time to be brave, to hold him accountable, to investigate his cover-up of nursing home information. It is time to undo the bad policies that led to unnecessary deaths. And it is time to start the impeachment process.’
The nursing home issue exploded onto the political scene with two recent revelations.
First, the state’s Democratic attorney general chastised the Cuomo administration for minimizing the death toll at nursing homes by excluding certain fatalities from the count.
Cuomo’s administration then revealed at least 15,000 people living in long-term care facilities have died of COVID-19, nearly double the number Cuomo had initially disclosed.
Days after that revelation, Kim claimed that the governor made threats as part of an effort to get him to ‘cover up’ for DeRosa’s admission. Now, Kim is standing up to the governor and even wrote an op-ed calling for his impeachment
The New York Post first reported that DeRosa told lawmakers the Cuomo administration had withheld the numbers for fear of them being ‘used against us’.
A furious Cuomo at a press conference later accused Ron Kim, a Democratic state legislator who spoke to the Post, about corruption.
Kim said Cuomo had called him and threatened to ‘destroy’ him.
While Cuomo’s team has claimed that Kim is a liar, the New York Times released an article about Cuomo’s alleged bullying in which others reported similar verbal abuse.
‘His primary tool for governing is to create fear,’ Karen Hinton, a communications consultant who previously worked with Cuomo, told the newspaper.
According to two people who wished to remain anonymous, Cuomo likened a leader of the Working Families Party to a ‘child rapist’.
The party apparently told Cuomo that it would endorse him in the general election because he was better than a Republican.
‘If you ever say, “Well he’s better than a Republican” again, then I’m going to say, “You’re better than a child rapist,”‘ the governor allegedly said.
Eric Phillips, a former spokesman for Mayor Bill de Blasio, told the Times: ‘The governor understands the political value of taking action and creating the perception of strength, even if it occasionally seems cocksure or bullying.’
He said the governor is ‘a master of brutalist political theater’.
Meanwhile, legal experts warned Sunday that Cuomo’s nursing home deaths cover-up could lead to federal level criminal offenses.
According to a Wall Street Journal op-ed written by John B. Daukas, who served as acting US attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, ‘numerous federal criminal statutes could apply’.
Daukas then pointed to DeRosa’s admission, saying: ‘Ms. DeRosa’s reported admissions indicate the Cuomo administration’s conduct wasn’t merely negligent, but intentional and perhaps criminal,’ Daukas wrote.
He continued: ‘It’s a crime to make false statements to the federal government. It’s also a crime to conceal information and otherwise obstruct government investigations.
‘New York may have engaged in a conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and its agencies and possibly obstruct justice, among other crimes.’
Daukas added that ‘even if it cannot be proved that the Cuomo administration knowingly provided false information to Justice and the (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services), New York’s willful failure to provide information may itself constitute a criminal offense—particularly if the intent was to thwart a federal investigation—which, after all, is exactly what Ms. DeRosa reportedly said the administration did’.